Presidency Shops For Jega’s Replacement?

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An interesting read from Vanguard
With the successful postponement of the elections by the
Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, the Presidency has launched a
two-pronged war to ensure that President Goodluck Jonathan wins the election
convincingly.
Anambra Supplementary Election: INEC Chairman Prof.
Attahiru  Jega addressing pressmen ,
announcing November 30 for Supplementary election at  Anambra State 
while National Commissioner Lawrence Nwuruku looks on in Abuja. Photo by
Gbemiga Olamikan.

The two strategies are to stop Muhammadu Buhari, the All
Progressives Congress candidate from contesting the election with Jonathan and
the replacement of the INEC Chairman, Prof Attahiru Jega, with a less
independent-minded person. Jega, it was gathered, had been described by hawks
around the president of being too independent-minded and ‘uncooperative’
despite being given the job on a platter of gold by the president’s men.
Vanguard learnt that Jega might have unwittingly played into
the hands of the forces arrayed against him by agreeing to shift the elections.
Legal war to
disqualify Buhari
Competent sources said last night that the move to remove
Jega and the legal fireworks against Buhari, would be taken up simultaneously
with effect from this week given the timeframe made possible by the shift.
The retired general is to be prosecuted by a team of legal
luminaries for ‘lying on oath’ that he had a school certificate with the
Nigerian Army when he knew that it was untrue. The plaintiffs are said to have
settled for trying Buhari for alleged ‘perjury’ instead of outright
non-possession of certificate following legal advice that the latter would be more
difficult to prove within the time at their disposal.
Vanguard learnt that although Jega reluctantly succumbed to
pressure from the Presidency and its security chiefs to shift the polls, he
might still not be allowed by the forces to conduct the rescheduled elections
between March 28 and April 11. Vanguard gathered from competent sources that
the Presidency was no longer comfortable with Jega and was, therefore, working
tirelessly to get him out of the commission to pave the way for a more ‘trusted
hand’ to conduct the rescheduled elections.
It was learnt that the forces arrayed against the INEC boss
had convinced the President not to renew Jega’s tenure, which is expected to
lapse on June 13 this year. The forces, it was learnt, felt that Jega was rather
too ‘difficult’ to deal with, having not allowed himself to be dictated to by
anyone since assuming office like other appointees of the government.
It was learnt that in a bid to sweep off Jega from his seat
without raising any dust, he would be asked to comply with the civil service
procedure by proceeding on his three months terminal leave with effect from
March 1, this year since he is expected to retire on June 13.
S-West gov’s brother
may replace Jega
Vanguard gathered that in his place, the Presidency was
considering bringing in another academic from the South-West, who is currently
heading a tertiary institution in the country. The professor of Political
Science and International Relations is said to be a sibling of a serving
governor in the South-West, who is a close ally of President Goodluck Jonathan
and his party.
Competent sources also told Vanguard last night that
although the name of the academic had been made known in security circles, it
was not clear whether the man had been cleared by the forces with a view to
sending his name to the National Assembly for possible confirmation, as
required by law.
Working against
Jonathan’s interest
As a prelude to removing Jega from office, some close allies
of the President had started accusing him of taking side with the opposition to
undermine the success of Jonathan and his party in the next election. Earlier
last week, Jonathan’s godfather, Chief Edwin Clark and other prominent
politicians from the Southern part of the country had accused Jega of working
against the interest of the president and the PDP and asked him to resign from
the commission.
Although no evidence was adduced by Clark and his group to
support their allegation, they nonetheless called for the arrest of Jega.
Similarly, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr.
Doyin Okupe, on Saturday, said Jega had lied about the state of the
commission’s preparedness for the conduct of the election.

In the same vein, the National Publicity Secretary of the
PDP, Mr. Olisa Metuh, accused INEC of working with the opposition to deny its
members of permanent voter cards in some states. He called on the security
agents to probe the commission over the development.

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